Since the start of free agency five days ago, the Saints have been surprisingly active. They replaced Carl Nicks with former Raven Ben Grubbs, and have shown interest in a handful of other players, scheduling visits with them, which gives the impression that there will be at least a few new faces next year. Among these players are Seahawks linebacker David Hawthorne, Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton, Texans tight end Joel Dreessen, Broncos linebacker Joe Mays, and the most recently reported, former Broncos defensive lineman Brodrick Bunkley.
Before free agency started, I was hoping that the Saints would make a few changes to the defensive side of the ball, specifically the linebackers, and it seems my prayers might be answered.
Let's take a closer look...after the jump.
If the Saints happen to sign any of those defenders listed above, they would be immediate upgrades from what the team already has. It's not a secret anymore, the Saints linebacking corps isn't very good. Players such as Jonathan Vilma and Scott Shanle are liabilities on the team and need to be replaced.
Lofton and Hawthorne both have good skill sets and would have no problem stepping in to take the place of Vilma and Shanle. I fully expect at least one of these players to be signed by the end of the weekend and for a player or two (hint, hint) to be released to make cap room for them.
The fact that the Saints are in the hunt for a number of players even with their minimal cap space is extremely exciting. I really didn't expect to see the Saints making any splashes in free agency this year because they had to worry about re-signing their own players.
Now that I have been proven wrong, I get the impression that the Saints are finally realizing that they can't just get by with a "just show up" defense. Many changes need to be made to the defense because the offense will not always be invincible.
Hopefully the San Francisco game last year is in their minds this off-season because it just proved the cliché phrase was once again...Defense wins championships.
Are you with me? Does this interest and preliminary defensive focus in the 2012 free agency represent hope for an improved defense?